The Right 45 Ain’t So Easy … Friday Cup O’Chiefs

If you’ve ever sat at a table working the 500-piece jigsaw puzzle at a lake house or beach cottage, you have a pretty good idea of what NFL teams do when trying to decide on the 53 men that will make up their roster.

First, you get the framework of the puzzle in place, you know, the flat sided pieces. Then you start filling in the inside. For the picture to turn out correctly, the pieces can’t be forced into their holes. To make a pretty picture, they must click together

It’s the same with an NFL team. Try to force pieces together and the puzzle of the regular-season roster is not going to come together very well. Even more difficult are the game-day decisions; in this case eight players must be placed on an inactive list. Pieces have to be taken out of the puzzle.

The trick is pulling the inactive players out of the team puzzle without hurting the overall picture.

This process is on Todd Haley’s mind a lot these days, especially heading into a season opener against San Diego. Haley’s comments from Thursday may have shocked some people, but anybody who saw the two teams play last year – when the Chargers grabbed 30 and 29-point victories – knows that San Diego has a much better team.

“I know this team that we are playing on Monday … we are not nearly as skilled as they are,” Haley said. “It’s not close. That’s no disrespect to our guys. That’s just the way it is.”

Working from a deficit right off the starting line makes Haley’s job of shaping the game-day roster even more important. The head coach has made it clear he’s not in the business of taking insurance policies with him into games this season. Backup quarterback Brodie Croyle is the only insurance that’s a given.

“I am not going to take insurance policies to the game; I don’t think we have the depth,” Haley said. “We need everybody that is putting shoulder pads, helmets and cleats on, other than maybe the second quarterback, to be contributing more than one, two or three snaps. We can talk about numbers of snaps guys are taking once we get through a game and that is the way I am going to judge value and productivity and we will see how it goes.”

This week, here’s the situation that Haley faces as he tries to chop to 45 players:

3RD QUARTERBACK: teams with three quarterbacks almost always have that third QB inactive. He’s the 46th player, so those teams only have to make seven other players inactive. But when a team only has two quarterbacks on the active roster that means they have to make eight players inactive and that eighth player is going to someone who may have contributed for depth or on special teams. Carrying two quarterbacks helps make the 53-man roster stronger, but it hurts on game day with the moves that make for 45 active players. (8 players to go.)

INJURED PLAYERS: Among the inactives are the players who will not be able to play. In this game for the Chiefs that appears to be OT Ryan O’Callaghan and OLB Cameron Sheffield. That leaves the offensive line under represented with just seven players on the active roster. On the practice squad are two players that are not prepared to move up to the active roster and play – G Darryl Harris and OT Bobby Greenwood. Expect O’Callaghan and Sheffield to be out. (6 players to go.)

YOUNG PLAYERS: Generally it’s rookies that end up filling most of the inactive spots, especially early in the season. But Haley and the Chiefs have a group of draft picks and college free agents they want to get on the field, not just in special teams roles but on offense and defense. That means players like WR Jeremy Horne, OL Jon Asamoah, TE Tony Moeaki, LBs Justin Cole and Cory Greenwood, DBs Jackie Bates, Donald Washington and Kendrick Lewis.

Because of the offensive line situation, there’s no way that Asamoah can be inactive, so he’ll dress. Lewis is the first safety off the bench, so he’s needs to be dressed. Either Cole or Greenwood is going to be active to play special teams. The Chiefs really want to get a look at Moeaki in real game situations and he’s generally the second tight end when they lineup two on offense.

Suddenly that group of eight is cut down to four. (2 players to go.)

NEW FACES: NT Anthony Toribio has just joined the team from the Packers off the waiver wire. It’s likely he’ll get Monday night off (1 player to go.)

Making that last decision is something that is going to test Haley and his staff. Somebody is going to be inactive who would normally be part of the offense, defense or special teams. That’s when the infighting starts in the coaching meetings.

“Offensive line coaches are always going to want more,” said Haley. “The receivers coach is always going to want an extra receiver. Everybody is always going to want their security but at the same time, I think we need to get the best 45 to the game that can contribute the most snaps whoever that is.”


Javier goes for No. 21 – Rookie CB Javier Arenas has traded out of No. 30 and decided to wear No. 21 this season. The last Chiefs player to wear that number was RB Kolby Smith.

And the winner is! – Receiving more than 52 percent of fans voting on line, the Chiefs signature sandwich this year will be the Red and Gold Short Rib Melt, a combination of pulled short ribs, grilled onions and white American and Havarti cheeses on Parmesan-crusted toast. This obviously huge porker goes for a huge $11.

Parking for the Monday night party – Whether all the tickets are sold for the Monday night opener at Arrowhead, there are going to be a lot of people in the Truman Sports Complex. Remember, the Royals are playing Monday afternoon as well. Yes, they are still playing baseball. I was surprised as well.

Gate attendants will begin honoring Chiefs parking passes at 3:30 p.m. Prior to that fans will have or to buy a Royals parking pass to get into the stadium. From 5 to 6 p.m., all gates will be set up as exits for Royals traffic. More than likely that Royals traffic will be gone by 5:15 p.m., so I would bet that time is flexible.

Stadium gates open at 6:30 p.m. for the big shots in the Club Level and Suite ticket holders. For Joe Fan out in the stands, it’s 7:30 p.m. for all ticket holders


  • BROWNS – released LB Titus Brown; re-signed OL Billy Yates.
  • COWBOYS – signed WR Miles Austin to a 6-year, $54.1 million contract extension, with $20 million in guaranteed money.
  • DOLPHINS – re-signed C/G Cory Proctor; released C Jake Grove.
  • PACKERS – signed CB Charles Woodson to a 2-year, $33 million contract extension.
  • PATRIOTS – agreed to terms on a contract extension with QB Tom Brady. It’s a 4-year deal worth $72 million and includes $48.5 million in guaranteed money.
  • RAVENS – released FB Mike McLaughlin with an injury settlement due to a sports hernia.

11 Responses to “The Right 45 Ain’t So Easy … Friday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • September 10, 2010  - KC_Guy says:

    Guess one of the DL will be inactive (my guess: Magee) plus one of the FB (my guess: Cox).
    I don’t think they will go with just 4 WR – one of whom is more a dedicated ST guy than true wideout (Copper). So let’s keep Horne active for now to give DMX a breather every now and then.

    My inactives:

    O’Callaghan (if injured only)
    Cox (sorry – I like that guy)
    Cole or Greenwood
    O’Connell (if O’Callaghan can play)

  • September 10, 2010  - Larry says:

    Woodson just got a two year 33mil extension. Wow!

  • September 10, 2010  - Nate says:

    What a great write Bob! I appreciate it! Nate

  • September 10, 2010  - TX_ChiefAN says:

    Thanks for all you do Bob…I really appreciate your work.

  • September 10, 2010  - el cid says:

    KC_Guy put a lot of thought into his list. I am not into it enough to change anything. It would have been nice if more of the ’09 draftees were pushing to start as opposed to roster fillers/inactives. The season is long and, hopefully, some will find more active roles on the team later in the year,.

  • September 10, 2010  - Brent says:


    You probaly have a big enough ego with all the strokes we give you, but I gotta say it again, no where else could I get this kind of insight that is written so well from a writer who knows how to connect in a real way, not a fatlock way (did anyone else notice how the new dbag at the star sure want’s to be the next Fatlock, Smellinger is his name)?

    Cheers to you Bob, Chief fans out here in the Great Northwest are lucky to have you.

  • September 10, 2010  - RW says:

    What needs to be kept in mind, especially for ME, is that this is a TEAM game, so hope springs eternal. Meaning that a group of guys that embrace and execute as a team can (and usually do) beat another group of guys more talented who play more like individuals than as a team.

    If Haley/RAC/Weis can successfully instill that concept into the 45 guys that dress on Monday, I’ll take my chances, go to war, and pick the Chiefs because Norv Turner never impressed me as a NFL head coach.

    Let’s see about this.

  • September 10, 2010  - KC_Guy says:

    Folks, thanks for your comments on my suggestions – much appreciated!

  • September 10, 2010  - Michael says:

    Seems like O’Callaghan must be at least healthy enough to suit up as a reserve, or they would have brought in another tackle, whouldn’t they? How can you go into a game with just two tackles-Albert and Richardson? Sheffield’s active if he cleared to play. MaGee is borderline; still injured and I don’t know if they see him ahead of Smith or Gilberry, but I don’t think so.

    If O’Callahagn and Sheffield are active, that does make it hard to get to 8. I’d go with Bates, Langford, Cox, Cole, C. Greenwood, Battle, Horne and MaGee. If Sheffield can’t go, switch him with Horne. If O’Callahagn can’t go either, switch him with Battle.

    I think Toribio needs to get on the field.

  • September 11, 2010  - RickyP says:

    Greenwood appears to be a bigger contributer on STs than Cole (though the strong side is weaker). Langford seems to have fallen behind Washington. One FB (take your pick) and two TEs (O’Connell out)…Smith ahead of Magee. Copper over Horne (for now)

    Cox (Castille?)

    If O’Callaghan suits up I’d say Toribio becomes the eighth.

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